On 5 June 2017, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt had officially cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. Saudi
The GCC Games, a quadrennial multi-sport event, was established by the union and first held in 2011. There are numerous long-running GCC Championships for individual sports, including: the Gulf Cooperation Council Athletics Championships (first held in 1986; youth section from 2000) sailing, basketball, swimming, tennis, gymnastics (senior and youth levels), weightlifting, futsal, snooker, and table tennis.
Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region, Hamas and radical Islamists in Libya has led to increasing tensions with other Arab states of the Persian Gulf. These tensions came to a head during a March 2014 meeting of the GCC, after which the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced the recall of their ambassadors to Qatar.
Some financial economists have interpreted the 2014 Saudi–Qatari rift as a tangible political sign of a growing economic rivalry between oil and natural gas producers, which could "have deep and long-lasting consequences" beyond MENA.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain put a ban on Qataris and their businesses. Qataris are not allowed to enter or live in these countries unless they have a spouse living there, or they must carry a visa in order to enter these countries.
Since the creation of the council in 1981 its membership has not expanded, with all members being Arab monarchies.
Only the Sinai peninsula of Egypt lies in the Arabian peninsula. In 2011, Bahrain's Foreign Minister called for Egypt to be admitted as a member of the GCC.Iraq, Jordan or Yemen, and sea borders with Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea or Somalia.
Iraq is the only Arab country bordering the Persian Gulf that is not a member of the GCC. In 2012, Iraqi Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi stated that Iraq wanted to join the GCC. Kuwait supports Iraq joining the GCC. The lack of membership of Iraq is widely believed to be due to the low-income economy, its substantial Shia population, its republican political system, and its invasion of member state Kuwait during the Gulf War.
At the December 2012 Manama summit, the GCC states called for an end to Iranian interference in their internal affairs.